Top Gun: Maverick starring Tom Cruise is out now in theaters and on digital and will be coming to 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on November 1. To get a taste of what the actors’ prep for the film entailed, ComingSoon was flown to San Diego by Paramount Home Entertainment to fly an Extra 300, the stunt plane that the actors trained with. The friendly team at Sky Combat Ace coordinated the experience, which saw participants experience several aerial stunts, take part in simulated dogfights, and execute a low-level bombing run similar to the scene in the movie.
The highlight for me wound up being the simulated dogfights, which were essentially laser tag in the sky. After being set up against my opponent (the lovely Straw Hat Goofy, check him out on YouTube), I got to actually steer the stunt planes. Of course, a trained pilot was sitting in the back of the plane, fully prepared to take over if anything went awry, but I actually was directing the plane during these two-minute-long skirmishes in the sky, over 4,000 feet off the ground. It was an incredible experience, trying to track your opponent through the sky, maneuvering the plane, and getting behind in order to “shoot” the plane was thrilling and difficult. Thankfully, the pilot was happy to give advice, and I wound up winning two of the three rounds (hilariously, my opponent’s headset came off during the decisive frame of our dogfight, so shout out to divine intervention for the win).
What surprised me the most was how physically demanding the flight was. While the Extra 300 stunt planes can experience up to 10 Gs, our flight went around 5-6 Gs, which is still more than any roller coaster will offer. It was an impactful experience and one I felt the most during the low bombing run after all the flips and the most intense moments inside the plane. Once everything settles in, it’s both exhausting and exhilarating. Being in the sky, flying through the air, and being in control (albeit with a lack of actual danger thanks to all the precautions by Sky Combat Ace) is a memory I’ll never forget.
Check out footage of the Top Gun: Maverick flight experience below: